DEATHGASM is a 2015 horror movie from New Zealand. The movie is an outrageous but fun romp into the world of brutal demon-possessed-neighbor-murders. Except, it turns out, one of our reviewers might think the Jesus guy is right and the metal guy is wrong? Well, you'll just have to jump on this nonsense train to crazy-ville and check out our review. Unless you're worried about spoilers. Because we do those. Check out the trailer below and then continue on down for our review.
Jake: Deathgasm. sorry, I mean DEATHGASM. Lowercase is for pussies. It’s time. The title alone has been intriguing us since it came out last year. I mean, DEATHGASM. A gasm of death, Jack. Say it. The name rolls off the tongue.
Jack: Sometimes I question why I do this thing with you idiots at all. It’s a death orgasm buddy. Like a bunch of necrophiliacs cumming. Hmm. Starting off blue this week I guess.
Jake: The aesthetic of this film makes no bones about it. It’s going for the metal thing. The poster is like a metal cover squeeged all over the goddamn place. The trailer too. The whole thing is just drenched in metal viscera, and (spoiler alert) I thought the movie did a pretty good job of making that work to its advantage.
Jack: Can’t actually disagree with you there. This thing sets a tone. Sets it quick and then maintains it. And the tone is metal.
Jake: With a title like DEATHGASM, there was really only one way this thing could play it, and that way is with approximately zero seriousness. From the jump, it did a tremendous job of building a world through the visuals you usually associate with metal, while keeping the trappings of the awkward high school comedy.
Jack: That’s true, but it didn’t do the most consistent job in delivering that world. Don’t get me wrong, it all worked, but sometimes it was drawings of demon cocks, sometimes it was cutaway scenes to Brody on a mountain laser-eyeing a girl’s shirt off while shredding, and one time it was a transition via cue card that said “HEAVY METAL UP YOUR BUTTHOLE!!!” All were effective, but it felt like with a little more refinement they could have nailed down the format a little. Refinement feels like the wrong word when discussing this thing, but it seemed like it almost forgot the metal schtick about halfway through.
Jake: The early sequences work pretty hard to try to establish a sense of place by juxtaposing a mundane little New Zealand town with the epic fantasies of our misfit main character, Brodie. He’s had to move in with his dull and hyper-religious relatives after his dad died and his mom went straight off the deep end. He’s got angst and a guitar. And he sits around all day drawing pictures of (demon) dicks. What else could a kid need?
Jack: For sure. It’s your classic misfit kid with overbearing stand-in fake parents who gets bullied at school and finds solace only in metal. With a twist of killing demons with giant dildos. Whoops spoilers. Regardless, it really is a tale as old as time, or at least as old as metal.
Jake: Romantic, for sure. This flick can really be divided into two distinct halves, so I feel like we should just talk about each. Luckily, both are pretty simple, which works in favor of the film as a whole. The first half is spent developing our characters and the setting. I understand the need for this to a certain extent, but I found this part of the movie to drag on. There were a couple false climaxes, and I understand that the purpose was to progressively take things from angsty to super angsty for Brodie, but holy diver I could have used a little more something in this part of the proceedings.
Jack: I’m not sure man, I actually really liked the first part. Everything felt so fucking New Zealand-y. Plus I really started to feel for Brodie. He’s just getting shit on at every turn. He’s a regular Kevin McCallister.
Jake: Speaking of Kevin McCallister, the first half of the movie is also just a comedy. You have a group of misfits that make a band and have grand delusions of varying flavors of epic. It was like Bill & Ted met the Superbad crew at a Megadeth gig.
Jack: It was like a lot of different movies. Superbad, Scott Pilgrim Versus the World, etc. And it bore a strange similarity to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off too. Brodie’s uncle (presented to us exclusively as a villainous uptight dick), is really into Jesus. He doesn’t like Brodie’s metal obsession because he thinks it’s demonic. Ludicrous right? Spoilers: No, not ludicrous. Turns out, he’s completely fucking right the whole damn time. Turns out, Brodie’s heavy metal music literally brings about the demonic apocalypse that results in his uncle’s death and the deaths of countless others. Brodie’s jerkoff uncle is totally right. He should be the hero of this fucking thing. Oh what’s that? Ferris Bueller, right: Brodie’s uncle is pretty much just Principal Edward R. Rooney from Ferris Bueller. A guy who’s just trying to do his job by ensuring that an overconfident and entitled piece of garbage actually shows the fuck up to school. Yet he’s portrayed as the asshole? Ridiculous. And obviously my premise assumes that the character of principal Mooney didn’t commit the same sex-offenses with which the actor was charged . . . ‘cause, you know . . . fuck that.
Jake: A-Z Horror, come for the review of a movie, stay for a rant based off of a completely different movie. Besides that at least Ferris is apparently remotely competent at skylarking. See, here’s the thing about Brodie, he isn’t good at guitar. So even when he gets his hands on a vaguely described yet infinitely powerful demonic hymn, it feels like it takes a while for things to get going. He fucks it up a couple of times as his band practices. Classic Chekhov’s guitar skillset we’ve got here.
Jack: Eventually they play the hymn right. Lights start going bananas, weather gets all wonky, dickhead foster dad start bleeding from his eyeballs, and the band starts foaming at the mouth. Eventually they pass out because IT’S TOO FUCKING METAL! When they wake up, zombies. Everywhere. Well not zombies as much as demonically possessed fucks, but for all practical purposes, they’re just zombies.
Jake: . . . Which leads us to the second half of the movie. And this is where it shines. It wastes no time. After all that building to the climax, DEATHGASM stares into the gaping maw of hell itself and jumps right the fuck in, headbanging all the way. We go from silly New Zealand comedy to Braindead in a matter of seconds. In fairness, the two aren’t that far off, but my god.
Jack: I actually dug the first part quite a little bit, and I don’t think the turn would have hit as hard as it did if they had done it differently. So while I agree that the first half was slow, I feel like that was in service of the movie overall.
Jake: I’m making it sound like I’m down on the first half of the movie, and that isn’t really it. The first half of the movie was fine. It was more the fact that we all knew what was coming and as a result it just felt like a wait for the payoff. It felt like finally getting to the drop after the roller coaster you’re on stalls on the lift. The good news is that the second half really lives up to the movie’s title. If anything, I’d have recommended they chop maybe ten minutes off the non-splatter half of the film.
Jack: Well regardless, once the demon-slaughtering starts, it's all awesome. The first kill is Brodie and Zakk killing Zakk’s possessed dad. They punch him a whole bunch, and when that doesn't work, Brodie takes an angle grinder right to his fucking face. That also doesn’t work, and Zakk finishes the job by crushing his head with an engine block. Awesome.
Jake: Yep. One of the things I admire about this part of the film is that even though it is a pretty big departure from the first half in form, it wasn’t an immersion-breaking leap of faith by any means. The movie did a good enough job of planting its roots in the primordial metal ooze early on that when the blood and guts did start flying, it all just felt like a badass setting for a music video.
Jack: Exactly. So when our heroes start killing people with giant dildos or anal beads, and cutting off dicks with weed whackers, you feel right at home and along for the ride. All the main characters then reunite and head out on a quest to get back the now lost demonic hymn music so they can play it backwards and undo everything they did, because what else would you do in this situation? Probably should have just listened to your uncle, huh Brodie?
Jake: It was also important that the movie didn’t alter or stray from its sense of humor as the proverbial shit hit the fan. Because of this, I think the filmmakers benefitted a ton from fellow Kiwi and horror legend Peter Jackson and his prior works. They have a name for the type of gore in this kind of film. Splatstick. And it makes perfect sense. It’s over-the-top and fun.
Jack: That's a good point, and fun it is.
Jake: As things get worse and the forces of evil start to bear down, we’re reminded that there is a plot here beyond killing zombified townsfolk by cutting their dicks off with weed-whackers. Brodie and Zakk fight because Zakk tricked Medina, the love interest, into fucking him instead of Brodie. Jerk. Classic high school movie shit, as we said earlier. Tale as old as time.
Jack: Song as old as rhyme guy. Also fucking shit up is the corporate Demonic cult who's only purpose is to fully summon the main demon. Incidentally, this cult had my favorite scene of the movie, where the leader tells the henchman to cut a guy's head off and they do, but screams at them about putting a tarp down first. He tells them to do it again, and they meekly just set the head back on the body and poke it with the sword. Hilarious.
Jake: This movie might be worth a watch for that scene alone. It’s quietly hilarious. Simple yet impactful. Hot yet cold. Peanut butter yet Jelly. Do you smell burning hair?
Jack: Are you having a stroke? If you are then you should stop.
Jake: Things don’t seem good for Brodie & co. sans Zakk and his chainsaw. At the point where they get captured by the cult they don’t have much choice but to turn over their magical sheet music to the leader, and are pretty much cast aside as bait for whatever hellbeasts our villains usher into Greypoint. Luckily, Zakk comes back and brings with him a torrent of violence as he dual-wields chainsaws and hacks the living fuck out of every living thing he sets eyes on (save his friends).
Jack: Unsurprisingly, this gives Brodie the window he needs to play the song backwards. He can't do it before 3 am, so the demon Aeloth can sort of cross into our world.
Jake: We all knew it was coming. The fuckup misfit kid is the hero of the day because of course he is. Have you seen any movie ever? Problem is, Zakk is now possessed by Aeloth. He forces Brodie to kill him to banish the demon back to the abyss. It’s the metal thing to do, afterall.
Jack: The movie ends with Brodie, now with a metaled-up funky cold Medina, (of course they end up together) listening to some vinyl. But what's that? It's Zakk’s voice on the record, indicating that he still exists somewhere in demon dimension or whatever. Why the fuck would they do that? Zakk is awful. He shouldn't be redeemed. Sure he came back to save them, but that doesn't change his overall character from colossal chode mode.
Jake: They did it because cash-grab, buddy. They set it up for a sequel. In fact, they are already working on a sequel called DEATHGASM Part 2: GOREMAGEDDON. I’m in. Question is, what will Walmart do with that title?
Jack: Nothing good if history is any guide. Now before Wal-Mart’s corporate cult leader overlords come try to keep us down, let's rate this thing.
For 1, think of how satanists would rate not being noticed by senpai:
For 10, think of how Wayne and Garth would rate Alice Cooper:
Jake: 7 - I give kudos to this story because it really is simple at its core. Misfit kid(s) fighting against their own social status and the end of the world. We’ve seen it before. But we haven’t seen it quite like this. At least I haven’t. If you can show me another movie where part of that tale is woven through the bludgeoning of a zombie with a black dildo, then I’ll lower my score to a 6.
Jack: 7 - This movie had a bunch of shit going on. Highschool movie, mean family, corporate tool authoritarian villains, zombies, and then the actual demon shit. All the while weed-whacking dicks off. And it blended all that shit pretty seamlessly. Well done.
WORLD-BUILDING / IMMERSION:
Jake: 6 - I could have used a little less on the front half of this film. Once they got to the splatstick mayhem, I was in. Big time. It just felt like a bit of a tough climb to get to that point.
Jack: 6 - More for the world-building aspect. The sense of place it created was terrific. Then the fun of demon-slaughtering carries the rest.
Jake: 5 - This movie isnt scary. We have to give that disclaimer so frequently I kind of want to rename this category and call it something along the lines of “Horror Application”... This movie’s horror application is from its gore, and my god did it do that extremely well.
Jack: 6 - And don't get it twisted, this isn't a scary movie. This score’s all gore, and well-deserved in that regard.
EFFECTS (OR JUDICIOUS LACK THEREOF):
Jake: - 8 - The vast majority of the effects were practical, and on the whole, the effects team did a great job. Add to that the multiple sequences ripped straight off a metal cover and the fitting metal soundtrack, and you have a high score.
Jack: 7- Not much to add to that. The blood was a little bright red for my taste, but still just awesomely gruesome.
Jake: 6.66 - My score fits in this general area, so I had to do it. DEATHGASM is fun. If you don’t like gore or silliness, this probably isn’t for you. However, I have a sneaking suspicion the majority of people fit into the green light category in that regard. Give it a watch.
Jack: 6 - This is a really fun movie. Have a few beers beforehand and a few more during and you'll love it. Don't tune in if you're looking for a psychological creep-fest, or even if you're looking for something thought-provoking. Tune in to watch demons get slaughtered with sex toys.